by B.B. Pelletier
Today is the day we see the accuracy of the Hatsan 125TH air rifle I’m testing. I have a surprise for you, and it isn’t what you expect. Just to review, the rifle comes with a scope that’s best not used. It’s very poor optically. And their mounts are very lightweight, so I didn’t use them today, either. Instead, I mounted my favorite scope, a Hawke 4.5-14×42AO Tactical Sidewinder that I have raved about in other reports. It’s the sharpest scope I have (don’t own it yet, but I expect to), so no one can say the Hatsan rifle didn’t get the best optics.
Hatsan has a scope base that gives you the choice of Weaver or 11mm rings, and the Hawke scope was already mounted in a set of BKL 30mm medium rings with double topstraps. With these butted against the Hatsan’s scope-stop plate, there was no way the scope or rings were going to move under recoil — even the heavy thrust of the 125TH.
After the scope was mounted, I cleaned the bore. And that was when I got the surprise. Even a brand-new brass cleaning brush slipped through the bore with little resistance! I thought for a moment the rifle was a .22 and of course I was using a .177 brush. But no — the rifle I’m testing is a .177. It just has a very large bore. How large? The rifle I’m now testing has the largest bore of any .177 air rifle I’ve ever examined!
I looked through the bore to make sure it’s rifled, and it is. But there are no pellets in my inventory that begin to be large enough to fit this bore — which is why I got the results that I did.
Note from Edith: I asked B.B. if this is so big that it might be .20 caliber. He took a .20-caliber pellet and tried to insert it, but it was too big. So, this is just an oversized .177.
Still a drooper
If you recall, this rifle is a drooper. I knew that, but there are ways to test droopers that don’t compromise the scope. Pick a small aim point located as many inches above the intended impact point as necessary and let that be your aim point for every group. After adjusting things as much as possible, the groups were still landing three inches below the aim point at 25 yards. But if the groups you shoot are tight, you can always replace the rings with a set of droopers afterwards.
The first pellets I tried were Beeman Kodiaks — more to keep them from breaking the sound barrier in my home than for any other reason. I knew from earlier testing that middleweight pellets will go supersonic too easily in this rifle, and every shot will crack like a rimfire!
After I got the sight adjusted, I proceeded to shoot the best group of the day. In fact it was the only complete 10-shot group I fired in this test, because all other pellets scattered so much in the first three shots that it wasn’t worth my time to complete the group.
At 25 yards, 10 Kodiaks made this group that measures 1.336 inches between centers. The pellet at the low right isn’t part of the group. This is similar in size to the best groups made with open sights.
The group is terrible, but it tells me something important that I haven’t noticed until now. Notice that many of the holes are elongated rather than round? These pellets are wobbling as they fly downrange! Some look almost as though they were tumbling when they hit the target. There’s no way they can possibly be accurate when they fly like that, and that’s why I didn’t complete any other groups. Not only were the pellets scattered, many of them also tumbled or wobbled like these. Nothing I shot could ever be accurate in this airgun. When I looked back at the earlier targets from previous tests, I noticed some elongated holes there, too.
The other pellets
At first, I tried to keep the velocity below the sound barrier, so I tried JSB Exact Jumbo 10.2-grain domes and 10.5-grain Crosman Premier heavies. Both wobbled in flight and scattered worst than the Kodiaks. I don’t have the new JSB Exact Heavy 10.34-grain domes, but there’s little reason to think they would have performed differently.
I did try a couple middleweight pellets — just to say I did. Some old Beeman Trophy pellets I had on hand cracked like a .22 long rifle, and they did make a couple round holes, but they also scattered widely and one of them did rip an elongated hole.
On to other, lighter pellets. The H&N Field Target was on the border of supersonic. Some were, others weren’t. But I got more elongated holes with this pellet, as well.
Then I tried RWS Superdomes. I thought their thin skirts might blow out and hug the bore better than the other pellets. But, once again, I got all supersonics and elongated holes. Three shots opened to two inches, and I just stopped shooting.
That is as far as I am going to take the Hatsan 125TH. I’ve shot it with open sights, with the scope and mounts that come with it, and with the best scope available. I’ve checked the screws and cleaned the bore. I’ve tried a range of the best pellets. Nothing seems to help. This rifle I’m testing is simply not going to be more accurate than these tests have already demonstrated.
The bottom line
The Hatsan 125TH is a $200 magnum spring rifle. It has their best trigger, their shock absorber system and their Weaver/11mm scope base. Yet, it also has a barrel that’s so overbore that it doesn’t stabilize any pellet I tried. The trigger is too heavy and doesn’t adjust very far. The rifle cocks hard but gets easier as it breaks in. In the end, though, the test rifle wasn’t accurate. I could forgive everything else if I’d been able to shoot a good group with this air rifle.